Sound File Formats
Windows Sound Recorder
Ideas and Applications
Microphones and Mixers
Elsewhere on this site:
There's nothing magical about CD's - 10 years ago this entire topic would be
titled "Cassette Tape Production" and much of the ideas would be the
same. However, CDs are digital, and hence the side benefit of aiming that
way is that the resultant product can be used everywhere a computer is used (on the Web, in a PowerPoint presentation, in a videotape, even
embedded in a Word or other document), by simply dragging and dropping a
file! A cassette tape will serve as a fine record of your speech class or
orchestra concert, but delivering it to an appreciative audience becomes so much
easier if the information is digital! Even the CDs themselves are easy to
copy and distribute, with very little effort and a high standard of quality.
Here is a short
list of things you can record digitally - some of them obvious, some not:
Ensembles (Band, Orchestra, Chorus)
Individual student performances
Faculty/Staff performances, visiting artists
The Spoken Word
A few hints on how to best manage possible recording projects, garnished from
several years' experience pursuing some big ones:
Be wary of initial enthusiasm, followed by
|In big projects, timing is everything.
If you deliver quality quickly, enthusiasm will be sustained, and the work
will be appreciated. If there's a month gap between the event and
the product, no one will care! Be prepared to produce one project
almost totally on your own, and pump it as an example!
Prep your stars!
|Most kids have no idea how revealing a good
recording is - it picks up every fidget and whispered remark, and those
"grand pauses" reveal a host of ills. Tell the kids you
have to have dead silence before, during, and after a performance number,
even if it's a live recording! Tell them you will take every side comment
and boost it in volume until everyone knows who screwed up!
In general, I encourage a special performance just for
the microphones - the kids get a taste of a recording session, and you get
a cleaner performance!
|If your big project is a CD for fundraising
purposes, the potential return is very dazzling ($3.00 production costs
sold for $15 - quite a markup!). But to make it work, don't depend
on your students. Remember: that CD competes for their attention with
everything coming from Nashville and LA - they don't see the value of a
recording which simply documents. Best to market directly to parents at
open houses or PTA events.
It's just as important to do small recordings of sound effects and speeches -
kids will hear themselves and embrace ownership of Web pages, PowerPoint
presentations, small video projects.
Don't be fussy about quality
|Even though CD/digital sound has a reputation
for achieving and maintaining high quality, remember that most sound
effects will be played on a 2" computer speaker. Even
PA-delivered dramatic sound effects won't benefit from too much attention
to recording detail. Clean up the problems with software!